15 Responses

  1. How To Not Suck at Technical Presentations
    How To Not Suck at Technical Presentations at |

    […] How To Not Suck at Technical Presentations […]

  2. mhallida
    mhallida at |

    Love it. Definitely agree with your points. I see people making the same mistakes. I think it’s because they often want to hide behind insecurities about their technical ability. The more details and information I have the more I know my stuff right? Wrong.

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  3. Doug B
    Doug B at |

    Very nice. That is easy to forget when you’ve got a big topic to cram into a short amount of time, but that’s when it is even more important to ditch the deck and address what the audience really wants to know.

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  4. Paul
    Paul at |

    Good article and agree on the critical KPI: audience engagement.

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  5. nfritsch
    nfritsch at |

    We refer to your example as throwing spaghetti on the wall, talk about as much as possible and see what sticks. Audience participation is a must. Without giving too much away, apply these same principles when giving demo’s. Do you really want to show someone how to install, configure, do this and do that, all less than a hour. Show them what they want to see, you know, the reason you’re giving the demo and leave the rest of the time for discussion.

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  6. How To Not Suck at Technical Presentations | Storage CH Blog

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  7. rogerluethy
    rogerluethy at |

    Good post Chris, i fully agree. The use of a Whiteboard should be mandatory 🙂

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  8. Jason Boche
    Jason Boche at |

    You make good points Chris but perhaps the title of your post could be narrowed down specifically to how not to suck at Tech Field Day presentations. To be frank I think it smacks of arrogance. TFD is a different and yet very clearly defined target audience with an agenda which is not at all the same as 5 underpaid and overworked women or men lacking active participation interest or skills from XYZ company in a room (or on a conference call w/ no whiteboard) who all wear different hats and must walk out the door with a purchasing decision within 30-60 minutes. There is a method to every madness. Bake offs aren’t run like TFD but maybe they should be.

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    1. Hans De Leenheer
      Hans De Leenheer at |

      @Jason – if you are a & & you shouldn’t be listening/watching a technical presentation in the first place 🙂

      To your point: yes, TFD audience is a different beast to tame but the basics of Chris’ post have nothing to do with TFD as such. It’s about a presenter that understands his audience. The only people I have heard being happy with 87 slides full of text are the ones that just want to forward it afterwards. There are white papers for that type of audience. Those people are an insult to the energy a live presenter puts in his preparation on performance.

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      1. Hans De Leenheer
        Hans De Leenheer at |

        crap, should have used symbols when I was summing up – underpaid and overworked – lacking participation – purchasing decision in 30 to 60 🙂

  9. Duncan
    Duncan at |

    To be fair, at least half of the room during TFD doesn’t speak up either… They lean back, watch their twitter stream / do their email / whatever. Just like during a “death by powerpoint” presentation, so I guess it only works for certain people 🙂

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  10. Duncan
    Duncan at |

    PS: I agree with your point, and typically think a short deck 10-15 slides + Demo followed by Q&A is a good format. But this will differ per region, in some countries in Europe NO ONE will speak up during the session or during the Q&A. In other countries you get bombarded.

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